On 27 August 1960 a replica of “HMS Bounty” was launched at Lunenburg N.S. and departed on 26 October via the Panama Canal for Tahiti, a voyage of 11,000 km with 24 crew members on board including Wayne Dewar of Hantsport.

Proudly built using original 1780’s ship drawings from the British Admiralty archives and in the traditional manner by more than 120 workers including 80 carpenters over an 8-month period at the Smith and Rhuland shipyard, the three-masted, square-rigged brigantine had been commissioned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for their 1962 film ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian.

Twenty-two of the crew were Nova Scotians and so far identified from media reports are Captain Ellsworth Trask Coggins, Mark Thomson of Halifax, Robert Douglas of the U.S., Dr. Peter Denton-Cardew of Newfoundland, Hugh Boyd of Dartmouth, John LeBlanc (cook) of Liverpool, John Kendall, Dalton Richards, Ivan Zwicker, Lewis Jennex of Oyster Pond, Ross MacKay (first mate), Ellsworth George Coggins (son of captain), John Kendall of Windsor, and Wayne Dewar of Hantsport (mess boy).

On 4 December 1960, three weeks from Panama after a rough voyage and near disastrous shipboard fire, the crew sighted Tahiti and sailed into Matavai Bay.

During filming the crew worked a 12-hour day and a six-day week. Besides putting the ship through her paces for the cameras, many of the men appeared as extras in the film. Wayne Dewar, age 21, was selected as a stand-in for Marlon Brando.

Wayne Dewar in costume

Tahitians were also hired as extras for the film including Teretiaiti (Suzanne) Tevahineheipoua Maifano of Makemo Island. She was educated in a convent, spoke three languages and was training to be a nurse but had moved to Papeete and worked for a cruise line as an entertainer. In the movie she played the wife of one of the “Bounty” mutineers.

“Wayne met Suzanne on a moonlit patch of Tahitian beach. They fell in love, they say, at first sight.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting began on 28 November 1960 but filming was difficult as the script was constantly being rewritten and there were frequent conflicts between Brando and the directors. After three months the rainy season started and production was halted until April 1961. Adding to the turmoil a Tahitian was killed while filming a canoe sequence.

Suzanne went to Hollywood, California with 11 other Tahitian actors to complete post-production work at MGM Studios and Wayne arrived in Los Angeles a few weeks later on board the “Bounty”. They were married in Las Vegas on 24 October 1961.

Their homecoming and arrival at Halifax International Airport was reported in practically every newspaper in Canada and the United States.

Suzanne married into a very musical family. Wayne’s parents both played the piano, his father Walter Dewar was a charter member of The Dukes of Kent Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. His sister Sharon, who married fellow “Bounty” crew member Hugh Boyd, sang professionally in bands and in church choirs.

After a worldwide promotional tour for the movie, the ship “Bounty” was berthed in St. Petersburg, Florida where she stayed until the mid-1980s. The ship was featured in several documentaries and movies. In 1986 the “Bounty” made a tour of the East Coast and Great Lakes. Interestingly enough, Suzanne and Wayne Dewar’s son worked as a rigger and tour guide on the ship at the time.

In 1993 the ship was donated to Fall River, Massachusetts where it spent the summers and returned to Florida in the winter. Repairs and restorations in the order of millions of dollars allowed the ship to continue limited operation but the cost became prohibitive and the owners put her up for sale in 2010.

The “Bounty” took part in the Tall Ships gatherings 2012, and was in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July 2012.

On 25 October 2012, the vessel left New London, Connecticut, heading for St. Petersburg, Florida, initially going on an easterly course to avoid Hurricane Sandy.

A distress call was made to the US Coast Guard and shortly after midnight on 29 October the stricken vessel was discovered. The ship sank approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina. Fourteen people were rescued from life rafts by helicopter. The storm had washed the captain and two crew members overboard – one made it to a liferaft, the other was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead. The search for Captain Robin Walbridge was suspended on 1 November.

References:

Weekend Magazine Vol. 10 No. 50, 1960

Weekend Magazine Vol. 11 No. 10, 1961

Clark County, Nevada Marriage Bureau. Clark County, Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-1966

Weekend Magazine Vol. 12 No. 4, 1962

The Windsor Star, 14 Aug 1986

Bounty (1960 Ship) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia